By: Revanche

On the hunt for an All-in-One

August 18, 2009

Has anyone out there got experience they’d like to share about their printer all-in-one favorites or least favs?

As much as I hate to add to my pile of Stuff here, an all-in-one printer is essential to prevent the stockpile of paper records from taking over my life again.

I started my reduction-of-paper quest some time ago, but there weren’t any good deals to be had at the time so a friend offered up her printer/scanner. I loved it, btw, but it’s more than time to get one of my own so I don’t have to keep bothering her as the inevitable paper mail trickles in.

Perusing the Staples ads, and Fatwallet of course, HP had some pretty good offers but a friend warned me off: his HP AIO, and a number of others according to the help forums, have problems with retaining wireless connectivity. Or working.

I liked the looks of a couple of the Lexmark and Brother models in terms of technical specs, not so much for aesthetic reasons, but the deals were lackluster.

My requirements are not many:
Flatbed scanner with an Auto Document Feeder
Wireless capability
Double sided printing (manual is fine)
Separate ink cartridges preferable
Less than $100
Lightweight: less than 18 lbs?

So far, the only AIO that looks remotely like matching the wish list is the Epson Workforce 310
available from or for $89.99 after coupon. Black ink carts run about $18, and color packs are $37 for all three colors (CMY), or about $13 per color.

I’d also heard good things about the Brother brand, and this Brother MFC-490CW model doesn’t look half bad, either. The printer is the same price, but the ink carts are a bit pricier. The auto feed capacity is only half that of the Epson at 15 pages, but that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker since the scanning pile is relatively controlled.

And what is this “cable NOT included business,” anyway?


5 Responses to “On the hunt for an All-in-One”

  1. RC says:

    A few comments
    – Watch the “Wireless” capability to see if it’s actually built in. Epson seems to advertise the fact that an Ethernet port lets you connect via a wireless bridge.
    – Watch the two fax standards if you’re likely to fax (14.4kbps vs 36.6kbps). It can make your phone bill add up.
    – Usually the difference between $100 machines and $200 machines is all-plastic vs. some metal construction. It can matter when considering reliability.
    – Some printers are obnoxious in that they don’t let you print at all if *any* color is out of ink. It’s hard to find info on this though.

  2. We use a Canon 4270 at the office and it is great. It’s a laser and only prints in B/W, but will scan color. It won’t suit your needs, it’s not wirelss and it’s heavy, but the actual footprint is small. I just ordered it’s younger cousin from Staples for $149. I had a brother AIO that I returned, it kept jamming on the document feed and since I really needed it for scanning, that was not going to cut the mustard

    Nope, companies are not including the USB cable anymore, you have to purchase one yourself. Good luck in your search. I

  3. Miss M says:

    Yeah with the cheap printers they make you buy your own cable now. Stay away from HP, that’s what we bought and the thing is a piece of junk. It scans great, but the paper feeder has never really worked. You have to “help” the paper in, but with just the right amount of force or it won’t be happy. I’ve sat trying to feed a piece of paper for 10 minutes with it.

  4. Agreed with Miss M: HP printers are flimsy.

    On the other hand, my HP Photosmart 2610xi has a good scanning program. This version doesn’t have an automatic feeder, but newer models may. It will let you print if one color is out of ink — in a pinch, I’ve changed the font color to blue when the black ran out just as I needed a copy of something.

    I don’t use the FAX function because it seems as though spammers somehow pick up the presence of an online FAX and blitz you with junk FAXes… And since this thing is in my house, that means getting rousted out of bed in the middle of the night.

  5. Revanche says:

    RC: Thanks for the wireless capability tip – I wasn’t even paying attention to that.
    Will likely avoid the fax option since it’s not strictly necessary – I don’t need another money sink!

    Bouncing Back: How do you like the younger cousin Canon?

    Miss M: I’m pretty patient, but I can’t stand machines that jam.

    FAM: I could swear that last scanner I used was a Photosmart but it had to be one of the high-end models I couldn’t afford.

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